The O Group, owned by Carlos Flores and Ana Rivaroli, is Miami's quietest, top Cuban café company. Late last month, it added Coral Café, on the corner of Tenth Street and West Avenue in Miami Beach, to a growing collection of casual, pocket-size spots that includes Key Biscayne's Oasis Café and South Beach's Las Olas Café.
At Las Olas, you can drink your cortadito alongside every manner of beach resident. Abuelitas in their floral-patterned house dresses sip the strongly sugared brews alongside double-parked cops and models who munch on spinach empanadas while silently praying not to be seen.
Only a month in, the cafeteria-style Coral Café is already packed with locals. It's a welcome addition for the hordes of people who live in the nearby high-rises and, until recently, had only a Starbucks or Oliver's Bistro to choose from.
"It's been crazy, and we haven't even started delivery yet," says manager Joe Acedo, who adds they'll start it sometime next month.
The offerings here are fairly priced Cuban classics that rotate throughout the week. Expect lechón asado, arroz imperial, and picadillo with boiled yuca and garlic or black beans. A hulking portion of lechón with two sides costs about $9. Fresh-squeezed juices, like a cup of pumpkin orange, watermelon, and pineapple, ring in at $4.45 for 16 ounces.
Coral takes a healthier twist than some of its sister spots, with a salad bar and brown rice to go alongside those beans.
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"It's South Beach," Acedo says. "The people want that kind of stuff."
Coral Café is located at 959 West Ave., Miami Beach. It's open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.